Friday, December 21, 2007

Part 13: How to find and contact a Dominant - self presentation

(see Reference List for further
info on Ellen Forney's book)

"If you wish to distinguish yourself, read
carefully, and reply to what
the ad actually
says, not just what you
want it to say"
Mistress Matisse
24 August 2007
"From the Inbox"

"the internet has made the quest for freaky love easier ... grab
your spreader bar, ball gag and flogger as we journey
through the world of BDSM personals. If you’re lucky, you’ll
find love. At the very least, I can guarantee you’ll get laid"
Aldra Robinson

This is the second post in my BDSM For Beginners educational series on how to contact dominants. If you are new to this series, please read the Introduction first.

In part 1 ("about you") we looked at ways to work out your own needs and desires, so you can begin to establish what you want in a dominant - knowing the right dominants to approach means your attempts at contacting them will be more successful. In this post ("presenting yourself") we'll explore:
  • where to find dominants
  • online adult social network sites
  • virtual world social networking sites
  • how to get dominants to notice you: real time
  • how to get dominants to notice you: online
  • choosing online names / avatars
  • writing personal ads / online profiles
  • the blogosphere
  • forums / chatrooms etc
But first, I'd like to commend you for reading this series. If you've done your homework from part 1, you've put considerable work into establishing what makes you tick, and what you really want in a BDSM partner. I can assure you right now that this already puts you ahead of many others in the finding a dominant stakes.

Where do I find dominants?

"Ms160, I don't know where to look,
I've never even had a play partner, and
I certainly don't know how to find
someone kinky to share my life"

Don't panic, the first thing here is to keep in mind the life priorities you established in part 1. Searching for a casual play partner (whether real time or online) is a different thing to searching for a life partner. But on the other hand, you can gain experience and have lots of fun with casual partners, while you search.

"If I were to find myself single and looking for a play partner", CarrieAnn writes:
"I'd probably use a combo of online methods (sites such as MyDungeonSpace, CollarMe,, etc) and renewed attendance at as much lifestyle stuff as is available in my area"
I agree - a combined real life / online approach is definitely best (and it worked for CarrieAnn, who met her life partner online). Mistress Matisse also agrees, responding to one sub:
"As for where you’d look for dominant women – well, I’m tempted to slap your palm with the Mistress’s anti-intellectual laziness stick. You go to kinky events, that’s how. You continue to cruise the kinky personals ... they all have their good points and bad points"
Miss Bonnie adds a warning about the dangers of distance, if you are looking for a life partner:
"It is my sincere and honest opinion that you should allow your search to extend no further than a three hour drive from your permanent residence. Long distance relationships have very poor statistics, they can foster illusions and fantasies and in general can create dangers and problems which are much less common 'within' your local area ...

"By limiting your search to your local vicinity you increase the potential of finding a life partner within a distance where the growth of a relationship can occur"
This is good advice: keep it in mind as you begin to get involved with both online and real time kinky communities. It's time to really put yourself out there. Join mailing lists. Dating sites. Special interest groups. Forums. Chat rooms. Start a blog. Join local community groups. Attend munches and events. Take a holiday and attend a kinky convention (like Folsom Fair, Floating World, Thunder on the Mountain, Boston Flea, etc). All these activities will result in your becoming part of these communities, becoming known - and making friends...

Online adult social network sites:

We'll look at all these things in more depth, but for now here are a few examples of adult social network sites (including kinky dating sites) (in so particular order) you might like to check out and join:

Some people really loathe the big dating sites like and CollarMe. "I have a profile on and probably on a shit ton of other sites and how many times have I checked them? Maybe once, maybe twice ... what's the point?", argues maymay:
" There's so much noise you can't hear yourself type. It makes these places useless. And that, too, exacerbates the supply-and-demand problem because now there are even less spaces to meet other people".
On the other hand, some people have had wonderful luck - a dominant friend of mine met her new husband / sub on CollarMe, while in a MyDungeonSpace blog post titled "He didn't come back", lei_da recently wrote of the experiences of a friend who had left for the United States a week before:
"this was a first visit for him after meeting [his new Mistress] via CollarMe recently ... it is wonderful to see the passion in his words, of how this life really is and will be the most perfect life for him, to live this 24/7 and in such a place, this IS him definitely ... he is there, he is happy, and yesterday went to have his new Owners mark tattooed onto him, he flies home next weekend, to pack and ship everything over, making his final journey to his new 24/7 TPE poly household"
Aldra Robinson (author of Kinky Love: BDSM Dating Sites) met her partner on, which she reviews as:
"the most entertaining and engaging BDSM personals site on the web ... I know couples who have met and married from the site. But if this were an infomercial, you would see on the upper left hand corner of the screen in small print: Results not typical"
If you are not looking for love, however, just kink or sex, "at the very least, I can guarantee you’ll get laid", she writes. Read her article. While she is wonderfully scathing about online kink / dating, in all fairness she concludes:
"of course there are intelligent, successful, stable individuals on all of these sites. Online dating simply reflects the bell curve that comprises humanity. If you’re willing to muck through the mass of average and insane people, you might just find a rare spark that fires a lasting kinky love. Why not give it a try?"
Some dominants don't use dating sites, so make sure you join some of the other adult social network sites listed above, as well as others on specific subjects that interest you, such as fetish sites, or kinky photography sites like DeviantART.

Remember the wider point of all this is getting established in the online / real time communities. So keep an ear to the ground as to what sites have the best chat rooms, or a rep for an interesting forum. Don't forget many sites have active regional groups good for networking and hearing about local kinky events. You should also check out Yahoo groups, (for example sf kinky dating) etc, for local groups. Tribe's groups have a section for events, which is very useful. Oh, and of course DungeonNet have a terrific Events list.

Virtual world social networking sites:

If you have significant amounts of time, you might also like to try joining virtual world social networking sites like Second Life.

I have friends who are totally involved with Second Life (according to one “travel guide”: “a world of endless reinvention where you can change your shape, your sex, even your species as easily as you might slip into a pair of shoes back home") enormously. Although there's much more to do on SL, it's certainly easy to find partners for casual sex (in "mature" adult only areas). Or cyber sex for hire, something that's very useful (Destiny Welles observes):
"if you happen not to be very articulate and have trouble seducing partners with your words. It's also good if you have a steady partner, but also have sexual interests that they don't share. You might not want to start up a competing relationship with another resident, but you might still want to explore your kinks and twists with someone who's familiar with them".
I definitely recommend you read Destiny Welles' article The ins and outs of a Second Life sex life" before trying out sex on SL. Oh, and do keep in mind, if virtual intimacy is your primary goal on SL, that you'll need to put some work into your newbie avatar's appearance - my real time SL friend Jo simply shudders when she talks of the possibility of cyber sex with dreadful looking newbie avatars, while reporter James Harkin discovered (when researching his article "Get a (second) life") that when:
"I [asked if my companion] wanted to have sex with me ... things quickly came unstuck. For one thing, I had neglected to buy any virtual genitalia, which came as a disappointment to L when I took off my pants"
LOL. A word of advice from Destiny Welles, echoed by my own friends: be prepared for the fact that:
"Second Life relationships can be very intense - more so than I had ever imagined. They also tend to be brief ... Everything is compressed, intensified, distilled. When you're sharing a fantasy with another resident, there are none of the inconvenient truths, or natural inhibitions, of real life to slow you down. You can go from "hi there", to "oh God, Yesss!" in a matter of minutes. In virtually no time, my new girlfriend and I were sharing the most personal, and deeply intimate, sexual fantasies that either of us had ever imagined..."
Interestingly, BDSM has quite a high profile in Second Life, and is (as Victoria Paine has observed) is "much more "in the open" than in the material world ... [although this] visibility ... has created controversies among SL participants". "A lot of Second Life RP involves BDSM, or is at least influenced by it to some degree", notes Destiny Welles, "[since sex] is one of the most pervasive themes running throughout SL ... BDSM, or hints of it, turn up pretty much everywhere on the "mature" grid".

I asked my online friend quietlisten for advice for kinksters thinking of joining SL:
"Wow ... big topic. Let me break it into pieces:
  • Meeting: It's great for meeting people with similar kinks who happen to be far away; in that way it's much like the Internet itself. In fact, it's really just a huge chat room with lots of bells and whistles.
  • Reality: I have seen a lot of people disengage from real life because of their involvement in SL. It can be an alternate (possibly kinky) reality...
  • Anonymity: As with chat rooms, SL's anonymity is a strength and a weakness... Selfishness surfaces in many ways because the repercussions simply are not there. Just create a new avatar and all sins are erased. But, then again, I can't participate in some kinky things in real life that I have enjoyed in SL.
  • Distance: I'm sure some people who meet in SL make a connection in real life. That ground is littered with mines, though; not the least of which is the fact that everyone in SL is physically beautiful in a way that may not carry over into reality...
"By the way, in SL I'm female, and judging by the demographics most female avatars in SL have guys behind them. Yes, there is some conflict there for me, except that I have told those I know well in SL. And I feel that I am expressing a real part of me that I can't always access in real life. Ah, the twists and turns of the cross-dresser's mind...."
Absolutely, LOL. So keep in mind that whether you are going to enjoy online BDSM play in SL is going to depend a lot on your actual interests, and how you can express them. For kinksters who prefer sensation play it can be more tricky. "[One] evening, I strap my avatar into a S/M device that sends an enormous spike through my vagina, over and over and over", posts Bonnie Ruberg:
"Imagination and projection are important here, certainly, but even in the mood, I can’t feel a thing. My avatar looks bored. The BDSM I’m used to, real-life BDSM, stings, burns, bleeds. This doesn’t even tickle. If S/M depends on physical sensation, then what’s this?".
Good point. To which Ruberg responds:
"Maybe that’s the problem: we expect to feel. We wonder, how can something so often dependent on physical action transfer to an electronic environment? But it doesn’t just transfer, it transforms. BDSM in cyberspace becomes what it’s been at its root all along, a matter not of pain, but of control...

"Even real-life BDSM, though often steeped in physical response, has its basis in the language of control ... Pain is the manifestation, not the determiner, of control.."
But then sometimes - unexpectedly - you can find real love, as JustMiss discovered:
"I joined Second Life with a friend of mine, with all intentions of just spending more time together since we were both able to be online a lot but weren't always so able to get together in real life. I went in with the intention of roleplaying, as that was what I was most familiar with. He wanted to learn about building and perhaps start a business in-game.

"We each ended up finding someone that seemed perfect for us.

"While I'd intended for my virtual collaring to be nothing more than that (as in roleplaying, not as in virtual collaring can't be meaningful) it ended up that we grew so attached to one another that eight months later he flew out to meet me and that was the first time I ever really got to do anything BDSM related with anyone. It was magnificent.

"The friend I joined with found a Mistress and after a few visits, she moved here so that they could live together and now they are engaged..."
Getting noticed: real time:

"Talk to people. Engage the world. If you wait
for your dream partner to come to you,
you'll find yourself waiting until the stars burn out"

Back in the real world, what are some things we've mentioned that you can do to get yourself known in your local community? Attend munches. Visit local fetish stores. Educational workshops. Major social events. Kinky conventions. Network and get yourself invited to play parties. This worked for lorlou2003:
"The group i belong to is two hours away and was a great choice to join. Being new, i felt a kinship and less alone. First i got to know them on a message board. ... i went to several munches with them at first. i went with the group on a "field trip" to Atlanta to a big club and loved it. Next will be a play party with them"
It also worked for Flaming_Redhead:
"Sitting at home and moping [like I originally did] won't get you what you want. Hang out with friends. Find a reasonably close munch to attend and make new friends. Join a few web sites and interact. I finally put up a profile on collarme and met my dominant in about a week. We've been together 6 months! Woot! lol"
Jade suggests:
"Instead of advertising for a potential Master or Mistress, try posting for information or make contact with other submissives in your area. You might gain useful information from them and have a friend to accompany you to local events"
Excellent idea. Why? Because as billc393 points out:
"All of this socializing has another added bonus... you'll find yourself getting over your initial shyness when the pressure of that 'got to make a good impression' is gone, and you can just be yourself, enjoying things you enjoy... around others who like those things too"
Haven't attended these sorts of things before? Keep an eye out for organizations like "Getting 2 Know U" in Sydney, who organize parties and munches specifically for new kinksters. If you are in the US have a look at this BDSM local scene list. Also, check out the online resources list at the bottom of this post, for great articles on munch etiquette, General Etiquette, Dress and Protocol, Beginning Real Time and much more.

Another great suggestion from Jade:
"There are numerous ways you can overtly display your preference for this lifestyle. Things that would not be noticed by the vanilla members of society would be very obvious to anyone with the same orientation. Jewelry items are one widely used way. Things like handcuff earrings or items displaying the BDSM emblem are an attention-getter to a dominant who knows anything.

"Be creative. Don't sit and wait, expecting the UPS man to ring your bell and slap the restraints on your wrist when you open the door. Get out...get involved...but use common sense and explore safely"
Getting noticed: online:

"I belong to lots of sites, but how
do I get a Dom/me to notice me?"

Quite honestly, if you have become active in your online and real time communities, you've probably already been noticed. I'm serious.

It all comes back to being active on the sites you belong to, at the real time events you attend. And I mean active. That means you need to fill in your profile IN DETAIL on every site you belong to. Post regularly in their forums. Chat in the chat rooms. Post on your own blog and leave comments on other blogs that interest you. GET YOUR NAME KNOWN.

Umm, what name, Ms160? Well, okay: good point. Coming up with a suitable name and avatar is a very important part of learning to present yourself properly.

Q: what is the first things a dominant sees?
A: y
our online name / avatar:

"if you adore ... boys with cock shots and 15 million
different views of them bent over, waiting to take it, and were made for you"
Aldra Robinson

Of course you may already have several online names and avatars at this point. You might have one name you are known under on several sites. Your blog might share that name, or be something different. Then you'll have your Second Life name. It can all get pretty confusing. If you can it's best to stick to one name, so that your friends can find you on various sites - and dominants who are interested in you can easily identify and locate you.

Your name is usually the first thing a dominant sees. A thoughtful name is a great way of attracting a dominant's attention. I can tell you right now that in most cases names featuring derogatory or profane terms (slut, whore, shit, tits, cunt, slave etc) are not going to get you far.
"Sadly", muses Arkasha,
"I think a guy who comes up with a nick like "Tung4URass" actually thinks a woman will read that nick and go "Oh! That's SO hot! I love the fact that he makes it clear right front that he's going to be ALL about licking my ass, what a catch!"
Female dominants are flooded with unsolicited mail from names like this, mostly from straight men wanting kinky sex. If degradation / humiliation are important to you, then discuss this later with your dominant. I am sure they will provide you with a name that pushes your buttons and / or also shows ownership ("Daddysbabygirl", "Smokes_Slut", "Ms160sSecretPet"). But use something else for now.

Here are some ideas for name sources (with many thanks to friends who's names I've borrowed, lol):
  • your own first name, or a first name you've always liked ("CarrieAnn", "Richard Evans Lee", "Miss Bonnie")
  • a character from your favorite movie or book ("Aristocatt", "CaptainTripps" "Mule" "solipsist" - sol took his name from his favorite book, "Against A Dark Background" by Iain Banks)
  • personal nicknames ("roo_roo', "MinofSin")
  • something descriptive that links to your fetish or kinky interests ("nzcuck", switch", "bootlicker")
  • words from a foreign language (or another language that you speak: "quall", "masri", "Madam")
  • words that resonate for you personally ("quietlisten", "sensualsadist", "Ms160")
Some comments from my friends at Fetish Lore and MDS on how / why they chose their names:
  • "I started with parttimeswitch because I felt rather vanilla here since many of us do the 24/7 thing and I don't. It got too cumbersome so I shortened it [to switch] ... I like it. I like the implement. I like the electric connotations and the idea of changability. Besides its short if not sweet"
  • "When I needed a non-de-plume in the late 80's, I happened to be reading the prequels and sequels to Issac Asimov's Foundation Series. I needed a name that was neutral. Names like "Slimeyworm or BigDick didn't fit the bill. The Mule was a character in the series. It was gender neutral and connotation neutral. I adopted it with my first posting and have stuck with it ever since"
  • "My BDSM username changed to QueSera back when my previous marriage was crumbling. I had made the decision to leave, and had no idea what was going to become of any aspect of my life after 14 years with my ex husband ... Not last on my mind was whether I was going to be able to have another good BDSM relationship. I chose the attitude and username together: whatever will be, will be"
  • "I've found so many people -- on the web and in person -- who don't communicate (a two-way process) so much as blast others with their thoughts and ideas (a one-way process); thoughts and ideas formed without listening much, by the way. I'm naturally pretty quiet and am always trying to improve my listening/communication skills with hopes this will serve my relationships well. The "quiet" is easy, the "listen" is hard. So I guess my username quietlisten is a fusion of who I am and who I want to be"
  • "I picked Saucy because at the time I was looking for a good nickname that would be appropriate and anonymous for a forced-feminization forum I sometimes visit. The basic criteria was that it had to be descriptive of myself, be reasonably feminine and at the same time not overly so. I had considered other things like sugar, spicy, cinnamon, but none of them really fit me that well. That's when Saucy came to mind. I'm not sure how my mind made the leap from the previous ideas to Saucy, but it did and it fit well and most importantly it fit me"
(you can read more here and here)

Chosing an avatar:

Choosing an image for the avatar that accompanies your name on various sites should also be done thoughtfully.

I suggest you avoid a photo of your genitals. Or your anus. Yes, I know what Aldra Robinson says above, lol. But unless you are into humiliation or seriously into CBT or female genital torture, do you really want entire communities (with thousands of members) to identify you by these parts? After all, what's the point of you being on these sites? Exactly. And most dominants are highly unlikely to be attracted to a sub who's avatar is a close up of their asshole or spread pussy.

Again if having an avatar that features this type of imagery is important to you, then request one from your dominant AFTER you find each other. If you MUST use such an image - if it is central to your kinky self expression - then make sure your profile explains this.
We'll talk about photos more in part 3, when we discuss them in the context of sending images to a dominant. For now, here are some ideas for avatar images:
  • close ups of parts of your body other than genitals
  • items / toys you own that relate to your kinky interests or fetishes
  • art work or illustrations that you like
  • some dating sites like CollarMe insist on photos that include your face, so check their rules
  • NEVER NEVER use photos of your kids (or of any child). Or of your partner. Don't raise your eyebrows, lol, both these happen.
  • I also usually advise people not to use a photo of a female if you are male; apart from on some sites this is against the rules, it also causes confusion .. you want to attract, not confuse or possibly repel. But in some cases where feminine representation is vital to someone's kinky self expression then of course choose the most appropriate image.
  • sites like Second Life you are creating an entire body form - you can keep it realistic, you can make it total fantasy, its up to you and your budget. Just make sure it represents the most important thing of all: you
Some comments on their avatars by friends:
  • " My avatar is just a cartoon drawing of me" (switch)
  • "The strawberry just sort of looked cute. It doesn't mean anything" (Quesera)
  • "I found the pic online and saved it a while back. I think it works, not only because of the "roo roo bear" wording but also because it seems he's giving a happy, innocent offering of love ... and looking up some, like he's on his knees." (roo-roo)
  • "my avatar is a manga character, which I saw on the net and liked it." (MistressAmor)
  • "[my cartoon character] represents a huge part of my personality: mischievous smartass with an overactive imagination. " (quietlisten)
  • "my first avatar was simply a Yahoo avatar that I had made with the intention of being completely anonymous. For which it served it's purpose sufficiently, but not much else. I traded it in on the one I have now when I took some photos for Mistress160's Serving Mistress contest. I had received a lot of good feed back about this photo. Seeing as how it isn't identifiable, it seemed only appropriate that it become my new avatar" (Saucy)
You can read more here and here.

What about changing your name? Of course your name may change with your circumstances. To make it easier for your friends to find you, try to keep a theme running through your choices, like Crimson_kitten at MDS:
"First I was His_sexkitten ... because i am a kitten and was His at the time. The sex part well is obvious sex is fun. Then after DD and I broke it off I became GothicKitten, because I love gothic stuff and the culture and kept the kitten because its who I am. Now, I am Crimson_kitten as i love the color red in all shades, textures etc, and am a kitten. Plus I am fiesty. I'm staying with this one for a while"
Now you have an idea of a name and an image (or two) to represent yourself, let's look at the wider picture of self presentation.

Personal Ads / Online Profiles: worth the effort??

"I hear all the time how guys never get responses to their profiles or emails in online dating sites, but girls get flooded with contacts", writes joreth in "How To Get A Girl To Talk To You":
"I'm betting that if ya'll changed your approach, you will find better luck, whether you're interested in the cheap hookups or the long-term relationships. You need to do something to stand out from all the generic assholes we get flooded with in any online dating site. Try READING her profile"
Joreth makes an important point. Profiles are so important. A lot of sub friends say to me, "it's just too much hassle, it's not worth it" regarding the production of personal ads and/or filling in profiles on kinky sites, forums, dating sites, etc. And then they laugh at me when I get cross and respond:
"how do you expect to find anyone??? Of course it's worth taking the time to fill these things in properly, otherwise no one will be able to get to know you.

"The first thing a dominant will do after meeting someone they like in the chat room is CHECK OUT THEIR PROFILE on the site. If it's empty of information, their interest decreases. Great. You just got the attention of a Dom/me you like - and you blew it".
Another way to blow it is to fill in your profile with a negative "I'm a pathetic worm of a sub" attitude. Here's a small section of an extreme example from Collarncuffs member:
"I have absolutely nothing to offer anybody and am just taking up space .... I have spent all my life making foolish, bad choices. I am a miserable failure and have never done a single admirable thing worth bragging about. There is not one solitary thing about me that is of any value. ... My only friends are at 1-800-Suicide and they connect me to with Technical Support to tell me how to get it done"
This kind of approach often backfires. It invariably confuses dominants - after all, how can you expect us to appreciate your value if you obviously don't? And if you are serious (as apparently the man above was) all the dominant you contact will offer is advice that you seek professional help from counselors rather than kinksters.

So fill in those site profiles, or personal ads, and again: put some thought into them. For some good ideas, check of the replies to joreth's post. Tacit, for example, provides an excellent list of what not to write, before concluding:
"A good profile is about you, not about what you like or don't like in a partner. It shows a sense of humor, gives the person reading it a general sense of who you are, talks a little bit about the things other than partners you like, and generally avoids coming across directly or indirectly as "Oh my God it's been eight years, four months, three days, seventeen hours, and twenty-six minutes since I've been laid, please pleeeeeease talk to me! No fat chicks."
For some more "inspiration" on what NOT to write, check out IrishWinks' "What I Learned about Personal Ads:
"When describing yourself, pretend that you are trying to get a street whore to give you a freebie, and you'll have just the right tone ...

"If you have the option of selecting gender of your partners and activities you enjoy - select everything. Even if you don't know what it means, you might like it! "
For more "advice" see if you can track down a copy of Ellen Forney's book Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads! Being serious for a moment, I know personal ads are hard, and as Tamar Kay rightly says, they "are effective for some people, less so for others", but:
"Keep in mind that while the odds may favor women looking for men, anyone can stand out with a good ad.

Should you lie, or maybe fudge the truth a little? Someone once told me, "everyone lies in personals ads." But it isn't true. If you want an honest partner, you have to offer the same. It's a bad idea to misrepresent yourself in a community whose watch phrase is "safe, sane, and consensual." Honesty builds trust"

I agree 100%. A sub friend asked me a while back whether he should delete his primary kink from his profile. Other members of the site had suggested to him that he'd get more interest from dominants if he did so. I argued against this. To remove something central to what turns you on is unfair to both yourself, and to dominants who won't know the true you.

And don't think you are the only one fretting about how to present yourself, lol. "I made the decision to try and only look for 'out' kinky partners last year. It's not gone well", writes Ms Reciprocity:
"I've tried some well known sites. First I saw all the other dominant females' ads and felt I had to measure up. Then I didn't want to deal with any of the responses I got.

"THEN I thought maybe I wasn't domme after all, if I didn't want to be like those other ads. Then I changed my ad, bit by bit, tweaking here and there, finally deciding to come back to what I really wanted".
That's an important lesson: only write what you really want. If you are having trouble, then go back to the lists you wrote as your homework for the first post in this series. They contain everything you need to represent yourself and what you are looking for. And here's some secret advice that's important:

SECRET ADVICE 1: modify your profile!

While obviously you'll use the same info on a lot of your profiles / personal adds etc, keep in mind that some info is more appropriate on some sites than others. Including kinky interests on a vanilla dating site, for example, is obviously not a good idea.

Another mistake a lot of people make is putting up dating / kinky partner interests on non dating sites. Posting something like "i am seeking a csaring Domme who would like to help with my continuing education and my journey down the road of BDSM kink. i am a 64 yo. married.." in a forum intro thread, or "i am looking for a master thatloves sexual stimulation of my nipples sex;bum cheeks and hole;i love poppers and being tied up;im willing to try viagra but not at same time as poppers" (as a new member just did on Fetish Lore) is inappropriate on a non dating site.

I absolutely cringe when people do this. The first example above was taken from MyDungeonSpace's Introductions forum, where new members who posts always get a warm welcome from at least half a dozen members, if not more. This man got absolutely no welcomes at all, and that always happens when people do this. "It really puts me off", a Domme friend from MDS wrote to me, "it's not what this site is about, and I feel if I post any sort of reply he'll pounce on me".

Remember: why are you posting?

Answer: to find a dominant

Point 1: so why on earth would a dominant be interested in someone who's such a prat that they are posting personal ads on sites with No Personal Ad policies?

Point 2: even if a dominant did read the ad before site moderators deleted it (and banned your name), usually they are so badly written that they don't provide any useful info anyway. As roo-roo posted recently, in response to an inappropriate ad on Fetish Lore
(titled; "any women know how to show me what it means to be a slave?"), after pointing out our No Personal Ad policy at FL:
"I really doubt you'd get any responses considering you don't say much in your ad. There's nothing about the type of relationship you're looking for, your own particular style of submission, or what you look for in a partner. There's nothing to really hook the reader.

"Oh, well. It's a tough search, and I wish you luck"
Advice: so don't blanket post.

When you join a new community, check it out carefully so that you get a feel for it. Are others posting about seeking kinky partners in the forum? No? Then make sure your own "hello" message is more general. An intro post at MDS that began "
Looking at life through silly glasses, I am here to meet good people, and learn as much as I can...." got two pages of replies, while another that read:
"I've been a part of many different communities online, and I have to say, this is one of the most welcoming. I do appreciate everyone's warm welcome, and I look forward to blogging on this site for some time"
got 17 responses. These new members twigged to the fact that MDS was focused on community, friendship and sharing knowledge.

If you join a new community and are unsure of its aims, just post a basic profile that includes your kinky interests, then leave a note that you'll fill it in more once you know the site better. And don't forget to do so!!!

Also keep an eye out for other sections of sites that might be useful. For example, groups or sections of the forum dedicated to finding others. The person roo-roo responded to posted in our Finding Others forum at Fetish Lore. He would have been far more successful if he'd taken time to introduce himself to the site and take part in a discussion on where to find someone, rather than irritating the community (and losing the interest of the very "women" he wanted to attract) by abusing the No Personal Ad policy.

SECRET ADVICE 2: the art of reading profiles

Now you've put thought and effort into your own self presentation, I'm sure you understand why people like joreth and others I've quoted get frustrated by others who don't bother to read online profiles. "They see what they want", sighs Richard Evans Lee, "anything that doesn't match that becomes magically invisible". I remember CaptainTripps commenting on Richard's How To Woo a Domme Online:
"this thought is very far in “no duh” territory, but… Please read their profiles.

"I’ve gotten many comments from ladies who were happy that I read all of their profiles. Why? Why aren’t men taking the time to read everything that the Lady they would like to spend time with has to say? If she, like Richard, says no dick pics, and you send one, then you either:
  1. Didn’t care enough to read about them, or (maybe worse)
  2. Didn’t care enough to respect their wishes
"Richard, I almost hope you delete this post of mine for being SO obvious that it isn’t even worth saying. Hell, those guys probably aren’t even reading this site anyway..."
But now, dear reader, now that you know what you want, and what you want from a dominant, you are ahead of the game because you understand that reading profiles carefully is the perfect way to discover dominants who share your interests. When you find a dominant you like, then get to know them exactly the way they are getting to know you. Don't forget these online pathways of communication work both ways!

SECRET ADVICE 3: coping with frustration

"I'm so frustrated by all this, Ms160,
can't I express that frustration?"

Of course, but be careful how you do so.

Often when people have bad experiences, they understandably modify their profile / intro information to reflect / express this ("let me start off with this: No, I will not show you my boobies" ... "NO CAM IS THAT CLEAR" ... "I am NOT looking so fuck off" etc). Certainly some sites can be frustrating, but these kind of aggressive introductions don't do you any favors on new sites. So watch your wording, never forget the bigger picture.

Keep your discussions about how frustrated you are, amongst your friends via private messages, or in the chat room, or your blog. Ranting or posting full of self pity in forums will drive away the very dominants you desire. If you simply MUST have a rant, try and make it amusing. Making dominants smile at your witty interpretation of your frustrating search for a dominant, means you have just brought yourself to their attention. So make sure your profile looks good, because they'll now go check it.

Other places online to find dominants: the blogosphere

As I mentioned earlier, many dominants don't belong to dating sites. Why? As Eileen puts it:
"none of my [dommes friends] hang out on dating sites, because the chances of meeting a submissive man who wants to talk to our faces (not our crotches) and not demand that we wear uncomfortable shoes are about the same as the chances of meeting a griffin on the NYC subway".
So where else can you encounter them? Eileen recommends the blogosphere and this is excellent advice. There are lots of great blogs by dominants, all of whom practice a wide range of BDSM activities. By regularly reading their blogs you'll become more familiar with these activities and understand more of what you want from a BDSM lifestyle. For femdom sites , visit Richard Evans Lee's sites Femdom Dating and Femdom Weblogs & Forums,who's goal is:
"to help people engaging in or interesting in F/m relationships find the personal writings of others with similar natures. I hope to help people appreciate the variety and diversity of dominant women and submissive men".
But don't forget interaction is also important: make thoughtful, interesting or amusing comments on the dominant blogs you read regularly, or in their site profile guest books. You might also like to consider starting a blog of your own.

Yes, I really did say that. Don't panic. It's not that hard, and remember you can always start a blog and keep it private until you feel confident to launch it. There are lots of good online resources about how to blog, and lots of great places where you can set up a blog free: blogger, where you are now with my blog, is okay with adult blogs. Or Wordpress.

Here are some topics and ideas:
  • this is your chance to express in greater depth more about yourself, what makes you tick, when you first became aware of your kinky nature, problems you might be facing in expressing that nature
  • but don't make it all about you, lol
  • link to all sorts of blog posts you've enjoyed, and write a little about why you enjoyed them (this is a great way to show off your interest in cooking, or skill in other languages, or whatever as well as encourage traffic)
  • link to the dominants' blogs you regularly read, write about the posts you most enjoy
  • write about kinky events you've attended (workshops / parties etc), what you saw, what you learned
  • how about writing a few posts addressed to your future dominant? Post your criteria and lists. Describe scenes and kinky activities you hope to soon try with them
  • upload photos you like, or photos you've taken (** keep copyright issues in mind**)
  • keep posts short, edit and spell check!
  • don't take yourself too seriously
  • make sure you link to a stats program, so you can see where your visitors come from. It's a good way to see how many dominants are visiting
You can do it! Tell you what, when you've got it up and running, send me a link and I'll tell people about it....

Other places online to find dominants: community forums / chat rooms etc:

"Where else can you find dominants
and begin to interact?

And what sites do you recommend, Ms160?
If I felt you were my perfect Domme
how would I find you?!"

There are lots of good online communities. Many offer often not only personal profile space but features like forums, chat rooms, photo galleries, blogs and special interest groups. All these features make interaction easy - you can engage in whatever community events and discussions are going on.

I have profiles at and CollarMe, but I'm more active on more smaller sites like MyDungeonSpace which I like because it has a great sense of community and is great for making friends. Lady Ursa agrees:
"the meat market focus is much more lacking on this site, thank goodness. And the weird thing is, we have made more realtime friends here, and potential play partners than we have on any of the other sites"
As does underwhere, a male sub:
"what I have done, simply by being open about myself and having a little fun as others have suggested, is come to meet some absolutely fantastic people on this site and a few others I have joined"
I am also active on Collar'n'Cuffs, which has great educational resources as well as a forum and many other features - it's also Australian run, and its good to belong to a few local sites. I also belong to several special interest groups / forums to keep me informed about kinky community events, workshops, parties etc here in Oz. Once you start attending kinky events and people get to know you, you'll be placed on their mailing lists and receive invites to private parties and events.

What else do I do? I moderate a few special interest groups on MDS (the Forced Feminization group, where I run photo contests, is very popular, with a couple of hundred members) as well as a support / educational Yahoo group for female subs, a private forum for Dommes, and the forum FetishLore. I also maintain this blog.

Can you see the enormous network that spreads out from these diverse kinky connections, how the paths of dominants and subs cross in both cyber and real time? I don't just hang around with dominants, I purposely seek out relationships with subs and switches. Okay, I primarily do this because I'm interested in BDSM education, and providing spaces where kinksters can find support. BUT. It also means that I have a wide network of friends, who themselves have similar extended networks. So that - because I rarely take on subs I don't know - when I decide to take on a new sub I can draw on this network.

This is why I dribble on constantly in this series of posts about the importance of making friends. Mistress Matisse agrees:
"my advice to people is to let go of [searching for a dominant] and think about making friends. ... once you start making kinky friends, then - tah-da! - then you're on your way to creating your own social network, based on mutual interests and personal style.

"That's how this is done. Yes, it takes time, and it takes some effort. Good things usually do.

"I'm always a bit surprised that people who are obviously smart and educated need me to tell them that one finds interesting kinky people by a) not snap-judging them based simply on appearance or taste in kink and b) by simple perseverance and patience. I sincerely hope that's a beacon of light for someone."
See, it's not just me harping on patience, time and effort! And when you are a part of these extended social networks, when you have friends, then when you finally decide to write to a dominant on the site, you will have a VERY big advantage. I'll tell you all about that advantage in part 3 ("initiating contact with a dominant"). In part 4, we'll look at actual examples of the kind of letters dominants receive, and see what approaches worked, and what didn't.


Your homework tonight is to join a couple of free adult network sites and create profiles. If you don't have a site in mind, My Dungeon Space will do, they have a detailed profile. You can check out mine here. And you can join MDS here. Or CollarNcuffs. It may not be the name you keep (although it certainly can be) but I'd like you to choose a thoughtful name and image to represent you, then fill in all the various profile categories.

If you'd like feedback, send me a private message via MDS or CNC, or put your links in the comments area below.

You should also read some of the articles below:
  • real life experience ones, if you are looking for a life partner or beginning to attend munches, parties etc
  • online experience ones, if you are looking for an online dominant

CarrieAnn - FemSubStartingPlace
IrishWinks What I Learned about Personal Ads
may may - FetishLore
Miss Bonnie Finding Miss Right
Mistress Matisse From the Inbox (letters)
Mistress Matisse Text of a not-uncommon type of email for me
Aldra Robinson Kinky Love: BDSM Dating Sites
Bonnie Ruberg BDSM in a World without Pain
Franklin Veaux Folks I can do without


Virtual world social networking sites:
James Harkin "Get a (second) life" (Financial Times 17 Nov 2006)
Roz Kaveney "Second Lives and Online Utopias" (TLS 16 May 2007)
Victoria Paine "Kinky Demographics of SL BDSM Community" (Second Life Herald 11 Sept 2007)
Irene Sege "Leading a double life" (Boston Globe 25 Oct 2006)
Destiny Welles "The ins and outs of a Second Life sex life" (Jan 2007)
Destiny Welles "Role players run amok in Second Life" (April 2007)
Destiny Welles "BDSM Blossoms in Second Life" (Jan 2007)

Wikipedia "Second Life" (October 2007)

Real life interactions:
BDSM local scene list
FAD General Etiquette, Dress and Protocol
Horseman Play Party Etiquette
Miscellaneous Tips for Newbies
Miss Bonnie Warning Signs
Mistress Matisse Text of a not-uncommon type of email for me
Roo Roo Beginning Real Time
XMentor Munch Etiquette and Dungeon Party (Scene) Etiquette

Cyber to real time:
Ambrosio Some notes on safety for meeting online and off
Jade Long distance D/s relationships: why they fail, what you can accomplish and how to survive the distance
Jade Sex, Lies and Computer Files: some horror stories about going to real time
Lord Colm and jade From online to real time: surviving the transition
Raven Shadowborne Going from Cyber to Real Life


Esther Gwinnell Online Seductions: Falling in Love with Strangers on the Internet
Karen Martin How to capture a Mistress

Thank You's for the
Contacting Dominants series:

While all BDSM For Beginners posts are collaborative efforts,
this series was especially so. Sincere thanks as always to everyone
who contacted me with experiences and ideas,
as well as:

Mistress Milliscent , Lady Myles
Mistress Matisse, Elizabeth Eileen,
Richard Evans Lee Mrs Claudia
Mistress Tich
Master Joe's kim
and friends at:

(Quesera, switch, Ms Reciprocity, Tom Allen,
JustMiss, may may, roo-roo and quietlisten),

FSSP (here's your "more fame, oh yay" credit, CarrieAnn!)
CollarMe (MistressKay, Stef,
(Miss Bonnie and Miss Bitch)
and MyDungeonSpace
(sweet_bits, billc393, lei_da
tacit, myraanken, pickin_grinnin ,
Vic, skyey, LadyUrsa, underwhere, Flaming_Redhead
and last but never least, lol: MinofSin)


Ellen Forney book cover c/-

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